Both in drawing and in painting there is an inherent ‘importance of distinct lines in painting.’ This observation can occur in the process of painting and then later when the painting is being studied for further improvement. My own criteria for determining if a painting is actually complete is to determine if the lines of design are rendered clearly, precisely and with some degree of ‘punch’.
This quality of having distinct lines whether the painting is an abstract or more realistic will reveal if the artist is assured of what he is saying or if the artist is a beginner and floundering with his brushstrokes. Strive to have you lines decisive. Do they properly and distinctly outline or highlight subjects, objects or characters in the painting? What do I mean by distinct? It means the line has a certain quality that is crisp and assured rather than wandering and searching. Music has this inherent quality in that the notes themselves must be exactly followed, point by point, score by score.
There is the feeling in studying an oil painting by Singer Sargent that he looks very carefully before making a stroke. He works first at getting just the right shade, chooses the perfect sized brush, studies the area and then makes his line with precision and confidence. This goes on in each subsequent area, thereby building the painting with careful attention. Drawing helps immensely to establish confidence in creating proper line because of course drawing is essentially all about ‘line quality’. If a line tends to waver or is drawn without real clarity it gives the drawing a feeling of amateurism, of searching. Compare this to say, Rembrandt’s landscape drawings rendered carefully but quickly and with great purpose and confidence.